Leadership. A 9 letter word with implications of a billion letters. It is all inclusive and the backbone of a great organization. How do you become a better leader? Where do you even start? You start asking questions to help you become a better leader.
When you ask questions, you gain a better understanding of where your team is at and what they need. You gain an understanding of what is going well at the organization and what needs to change. You start receiving feedback when you have created a culture that allows open and honest communication, and that starts with the leader. When you know what your team needs, you can help them, and in the process, become a better leader.
Here are 5 questions to help you become a better leader and manager for your team:
1. How is everything going work wise for you?
Starting with this open ended question will help to set the tone for the conversation. It gives your employees the chance to tell you whatever is on their mind. Depending on the relationship you have, they share everything, or they may be more reserved. If you have established an open communication environment, they will share everything they need to, and if you have not, then you’ll need to ask more questions.
2. What is going well for you, both inside and outside of work?
This helps you to get a better picture of where your employees are at. What do they consider that’s going well for them? Do they have a lot of good things happening both inside and outside of work? This can help you understand their mindset. When things are going well inside and outside of work, there are often less distractions and higher engagement at work.
This also allows you to celebrate their wins. If you know of a win they don’t mention, you can mention it and celebrate them.
3. What can I do to help you be more successful?
The workplace is changing constantly. From remote work to hybrid work, to companies pivoting on products and services, it is important to understand how you can support your employees. When you ask this question, and then act on it, you show your team that you want them to ask for what they need to get their job done.
4. Are there any barriers for you or your team getting their job done?
There are so many barriers to getting the job done, from not having supplies to time to communication. This allows your team to share with you what is stopping them, from what is causing them to be stuck. Normalizing struggles is important as it sets the tone that we all struggle sometimes. If a clear barrier is stated, ask how you can support them and what they need to move forward.
5. What can I do to be a better leader and manager?
This one is hard for so many leaders! Who would want to be told where they are insufficient as a leader?! Although difficult, it will help you gain an understanding of where your employees are, how they perceive you as a leader and your core values. You take this information and grow from it. Don’t guess at how you could lead and manage your team better, ask them.
There are many questions to help you become a better leader. Start with asking any questions and you’ll get on the right track.
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Stephanie German is a business strategist, adjunct professor, and speaker. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and loves giving back to her community in a variety of ways. When she’s not coaching clients or writing about leadership, Stephanie is usually headed to the mountains or the beach with her family, drinking savory wine, or working on the latest project with her husband. Stephanie’s greatest desires are to raise up the next generation of leaders while raising her own children to be strong, independent, and brave. She lives in Fresno, California with her husband Blake and her three spunky daughters, Cara, Kinsey, and Peyton. She is the best-selling author of So Your Boss Can’t Lead?